Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fluffy Fibre......to Knitted Stitches

I am still working out how to spin on my DIY drop spindle.
I began with that 3.5 oz braid of dyed roving that I purchased from a local vendor....after reading tutorials and watching youtube videos, I gave it a shot.....I showed my first "test" subject in an earlier post (here), today I thought I share the process from start to finish.

In order to create plied yarn, I would need 2 balls/bobbins/skiens of spun roving. I broke off 2 equal (roughly) sized amounts of roving and began spinning......once I finished each chunk (my spindle was reasonably full)  I would need to take it off, keep the 2 separate....then find a way to ply (twist) them together to make my yarn.

spun single in progress.

So I decided to make myself what is referred to as a Lazy Kate (or maybe just a "Kate"?)
I happened to have these vintage bobbins on hand (they were simply decorative with my sewing collectibles) once emptied, they would be perfect.

I gathered some supplies.....a sturdy box (gift box from the dollar store) a few knitting needles from my stash of many many duplicate needles (knitters out there know about that LOL!) and some binder clips

 I wound the "singles" off the spindle onto each bobbin

I attached binder clips to an extra knitting needle as guides to keep the fibre from getting all tangled

The spun fibre glided off the bobbins quite smoothly as I plied them together (back onto the spindle.)
Once the yarn was "plied" the next step would be to "set the twist" and to do this I would need something I could wind the yarn onto that would keep some tension and allow me to immerse it all in a warm bath......so I needed to make what is called a "Niddy Noddy"
I went to the hardware store and purchased some PVC pipe 1/2".....2 T connectors and 4 end caps.
note: the grey PVC is found in the electrical dept and is almost half the price of the white PVC found in the plumbing dept)

Because the yarn will wrap around 4 times for each pass.....my center pipe measurement at 12" will give me a 4' long skein. The bonus is that this can be taken apart, laid flat and if I wish, I can create different lengths of skeins by changing the center pipe length

The image below shows the yarn wound on the niddy noddy, along with the resulting skein of plied yarn.

Next I wanted to see if I could set the twist on a single ply. I am so pleased with how it turned out!
how amazing to be able to take fluff

and turn it into yarn with some pretty basic tools, this is a swatch I knit with my single ply yarn, to give you an idea...it was knit on size US 0 needles

This is a slow process, but it is so gratifying. I have found it so relaxing...and when I spin, I seem to loose track of time.

I have to tell you a story.....when I purchased this roving at a local craft/art show, I had asked the vendor how much yarn I should expect to yield from this particular braid. Her answer was that it depended on how thick or thin I would spin it. (okay that makes complete sense) so I replied as an example DK weight??? Well...a customer standing at the same booth, rolled her eyes and basically made a pffffftttt sound....turned to  me and said (insert condescending tone)...."oh...if you are just learning to use a drop spindle you WON'T be spinning anything THAT thin!"  uh .....yeah.... thanks for the encouragement.....perhaps she was trying to be helpful.....but her tone and body language said otherwise.
So as you know, I do LOVE a challenge......don't ever tell me what I can NOT do! But that is me.....someone else might have been so discouraged by that remark that they may have not tried at all and miss out on the of joy this art.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More Digital Design

Lately, I find that I am spending quite a lot of time drawing on my iPad.....probably more than I would with pencil and paper. I think the reason being that drawing digitally lets you  "undo" & "redo" as much as you like. Those who know me, know I tend to fuss with detail. Another fabulous feature of drawing digitally is that you can copy and paste elements you have drawn. (so efficient!)  This mandala, inspired by the little birds socializing among the roses is a perfect example.

The photo below illustrates how I went from drawing a small wedge of my design, then by duplicating and rotating that chunk, I was easily able to create a complete circle. It is so interesting to watch the full image develop as you work through that process.

Of course, once that was done, I added more detail.....more....more...more

I drew it using dark ink lines (well....ya know....digital ink)

then, just for the fun of it, I changed the ink to white to see how the drawing might look that way.

This was all achieved on my iPad mini2, Concepts app and my Bamboo Sketch

As I look back at several of my art quilts and those fun paper cut snowflakes, I realize that I do seem to be quite drawn to the mandala form (no pun intended)

Copyright Jill Buckley